Reverse line movement is a sports betting strategy that is used by a lot of sports bettors, but people who are new to placing bets don’t really understand how it works
Reverse Line Movement takes place when a large majority of sports betting picks are on one team, yet the sports betting line moves in the opposite direction.
The first thing that you have to understand, is how regular betting lines work. Whenever you are placing a bet, there is always a favorite and an underdog. The favorite is indicated by the minus sign (-), while the underdog is indicated by the plus sign (+). These lines usually tend to shift by the percentage of people betting on both teams.
If the New York Yankees are playing the Red Sox at Yankee Stadium, and the opening line is -150 for The Yankees to win. After bettors have placed their bets, and 80% of the betting population picked the Yankees to win, the amount of action placed on the Yankees will force the line to move up to about -170. The reason behind the shift in the line, is to attract more people to take a risk on the Red Sox to win, because their payouts will increase if the Red Sox do win the game.
Once you identify that the public loves a certain side, we can start tracking the line movement. If the line moves toward the side that 70 percent of bettors are on, it’s as expected. Bookmakers are going to push the line up so they can induce some money on the other side.
When a line moves the opposite way of those 70-plus percent of tickets, we have a reverse line move. Take a step back and think about what is happening there. The books are getting flooded with action on Side A; everybody thinks Side A is going to cover. But the books are moving the line toward Side B. That should raise a red flag is up.
Why would a line move the opposite way of all the action? Even though tickets are coming in on Side A at a 70 percent or more clip, the money is actually coming in on Side B. A book may take a thousand $10 bets on Side A, but then they took one $50,000 bet on Side B from a bettor they know to be world-class. So even though the ticket count remains extremely lopsided, the money shows the books that they have to move the line away from what the public likes.
At Least 60% of Bets on Side, Reverse Line Move of at least 1 point
League W L P Pct Units
NFL 2008 173 119 3 59.2% 40.44
NFL 2007 155 130 9 54.4% 18.62
NCAAF 2008 253 185 6 57.8% 45.61
NCAAF 2007 227 156 4 59.3% 49.49
NBA 2008-9 161 119 3 57.5% 30.01
NBA 2007-8 221 182 6 54.8% 18.89
NCAAB 2008-9 220 153 11 59.0% 49.92
NCAAB 2007-8 272 203 11 57.3% 42.04
If you ever notice a reverse trend in the money line, it is in your best interest to place your bets on the underdog team that the sharp bettors are placing wagers on, because they are betting a lot of money on the underdogs, which means that they probably know something that you don’t.